October 7th, 2009
04:48 PM ET

Murder rocks small town


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/06/art.crime.mountvernon.jpg caption="A Mont Vernon police officer moves a barricade before leaving the scene of the homicide on Monday."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

A vigil will be held in Mont Vernon, New Hampshire this evening for the victims of a deadly home invasion that has shaken this small town.

Kimberly Cates was stabbed to death in her home early Sunday morning. Her 10-year-old daughter also suffered multiple stab wounds. She is in stable condition at a nearby hospital. Prosecutors have charged four teenagers from the surrounding area in connection with the attack.

Tonight’s vigil will begin at the Mont Vernon Middle School, where Cates’ daughter is enrolled in the 6th grade, said Mary Jennings, the superintendent of the SAU 39 School District.

Jennings said her classmates are doing as well as can be expected. “They have moments of extreme sadness,” she told CNN. “The staff has channeled their energy into positive action. They have made a mural for hospital room and they’ve made a giant card.”

The state's Department of Justice announced the arrests of the four suspects on Tuesday. Steven Spader, 17, and Christoper Gribble, 19, were charged with first degree murder, attempted murder, and conspiracy to commit first degree murder.

William Marks, 18, and Quinn Glove, 17, were charged with burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary, and armed robbery.

Senior Assistant Attorney General Will Delker said all four are being charged as adults. He also provided details about the nature of the crime.

According to Delker, the suspects chose a house at random to rob. The home is on an isolated, dirt road in this rural town that has a population of approximately 2,000.

“The allegations are that Spader wielded the machete and Gribble used the knife and each of them struck the victims,” Delker told CNN. He also indicated the charges against the teenagers may be changed or upgraded.

The killing has jolted Mont Vernon, a town that has not had a murder in decades. “The people up here aren’t used to this kind of thing,” Don Himsel, senior photo editor for the Nashua Telegraph, said on Tuesday. “This never really happens.”

The Mont Vernon Congregational Church opened its doors Wednesday for people who want to grieve, pray and meditate.

"This is a way to come together peacefully; that's what we are trying to do," church official Jane Nilles said Wednesday. "The church understands that there are people hurting on both sides. This is a time to pray and ask for God's presence right now.”

A neighbor of the slain woman, who asked not to be identified, said the killing has changed life in this small town.

“Everybody is coming together,” she told CNN in a phone interview. “People are very leery about leaving their kids with babysitters, they just don’t feel safe leaving their kids home with a teenager even for a few minutes.”

“It’s just awful,” she added. “I think all of us kind of pushed this way to be more in the country and live more of a sheltered life and you just don’t think something like this is going to happen.

“You feel safe and separated from what goes on in the city, and to think… there are boys who can actually do something like this, you just can’t wrap your head around it.”

Follow Gabe on Twitter @cnnfalcon.

For more crime coverage go to cnn.com/crime.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    I can't believe the horror, fear, and pain the two victims had to have felt during the attack. How is the daughter doing emotionally after seeing her mother killed? I hope the killers get the death penalty or life without parole doing heavy labor. Its too good for them but its the worst we have

    October 7, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  2. alex lyrics

    insane, we are not even safe in our homes

    October 7, 2009 at 8:47 pm |
  3. slsc

    These kids come from the wealthiest towns in New Hamphshire. The schools they attend are the best in the state. All the stuff that you hear kids should do, these kids reportedly did...Boy Scouts, Church, school plays, musical participation. And yet, on this night they alledgedly had a knife and machete. At least one of them had a swastika drawn on his forehead in ink. They went out on the night of this murder, to the town of Mont Vernon (pop 2500) with it miles woodlands, farm land &dirt roads in search of a particularly desolate home. They found it, went in and murdered a mother while she slept and stabbed and slit the throat of her 10 year old daughter. The next day, they got up and went to school. Amazing and sickening and frightening.

    October 7, 2009 at 7:56 pm |
  4. M. Smith - North Carolina

    How very sad for this family. This crime should be prosecuted as harshly as possible regardless of the age of delinquents who did this. To willfully take a machete and a knife to an innocent life is so horrendous it is hard to even comprehend. A gun can be fired from a distance but a blade must be done up close and personal. There is no excuse or justification for this kind of deliberate unprovoked attack on an innocent family.

    October 7, 2009 at 6:12 pm |
  5. RJF

    i hope those kids never see the light of day.

    October 7, 2009 at 5:50 pm |